Marinator, or tumbler, is basically a rotating barrel. Meat and marinade are well mixed during rotation and it speeds up the marinating process.
Before we talk about the machine, let’s touch briefly on marination and the science behind it.
Marination is a process which enhances the flavor or gives a new flavor to food. The acidic nature of marinade helps tenderize meat by breaking down the bonds in the collagen fibrils. The marinade and its flavor are the signature of your dish. While there are many marketing tools to build the brand of a restaurant, the taste of the food is the most important. The restaurant becomes famous if the food it serves tastes well and special.
To give you an example. Chinese barbecued pork has been around for hundreds of years and is being served in hundreds of food outlets in Hong Kong; each has a slightly different taste in its marinade. People remember which outlet serves tasty barbecue pork. The marinade is your secret formula of success which differentiates you from your competitors.
Marinating meat before barbecue (charbroiler) helps tenderize it. Assuming you already have your marinade formula, then what can a marinator or tumbler do for you?
Marination takes time as the marinade seeps through tissues of food and works its magic. The composition, acidity and concentration all have some effect on the processing time.
Traditionally, hand rubbing or massaging the food helps the spices get into the tissues. This is, however, considered drudgery and its quality depends on how skillful and patient your workers are.
Why Marinator is Important?
If you cook as a hobbyist at home and time is not a constraint, put the food with marinade in a refrigerator and wait for a few hours (or even a day). If, however, you run a restaurant and time is always short, you need to speed up the marination to meet the always unexpected demand. This is where the commercial marinator helps you.
Modern day marinator makes use of a rotating tumbler. The rotation of food products inside the barrel allows the food products to rub with each other, and thus speeding up the process of marination. As it is tumbling, meats rub with each other simulating a tenderizer.
The time of marination really depends on your food products and recipe. The stronger or more acidic nature of your marinades, the faster the marinades work to break down the bond and thus the shorter the marination process. At the same time, marination of a larger and dense food product take longer whereas a tender product may need only a short time. That said, it is up to you, whether a hobbyist or a professional chef, to find out through trial and error the best time of your marination process.
Food Loading of Marinator
Look for the maximum loading in the specification of your electric marinator. Do not overload your machine otherwise it will shorten the lifespan of your motor and even cause the motor to fail instantly. There are times, however, that your food products are light in weight but occupy a lot of space. Be careful not to put too much food into the barrel even though you are way below the maximum motor loading. Delicate food rubbing with each other in a cramped barrel easily get damaged.
There are two more features which enhance the effect of marination; vacuum and alternate rotation.
Under vacuum, the protein from the meat is pulled apart and marinade can penetrate to fill the void and is held inside. It is certain that marinating under vacuum is faster than the one without vacuum
Alternate rotation of barrel:
While barrel rotates, meat rub with each other. Meats tends to align itself along the barrel wall after certain time and rubbing only happens at the instant when meat is lifted up and then falls off in the barrel. Alternate rotation of barrel increases the frequency of the rubbing and speeds up the process.
Tips of using vacuum marinator (vacuum tumbler):
There is a hose with which the vacuum pump sucks out the air and create a vacuum. Make sure you stow the hose securely before pressing the start button, otherwise the flipping hose can cause injury. Brandon’s vacuum marinator comes with a safety device. The barrel does not rotate unless you stow the hose properly and engage the quick connector. An alarm buzzer will go off 5 seconds before the barrel rotates. When hearing the buzzer, keep clear of the marinator. Make sure your clothes do not get entangled with the shaft or barrel.
After marinating, the food product is now ready to fry but adding one or two breading coating before frying will increase the flavor and taste. Click here to find out more about the science behind the electric breading table.